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Coimbra is the Portuguese city with the longest university tradition. Located in the province of Beira Litoral, Coimbra is the largest city in the Central Portugal region. Coimbra is a city associated with youth, knowledge, movement and relaxation due to the strong presence of the University. The University of Coimbra is one of the oldest universities in Europe, it is the city with the most students in Portugal, with approximately thirty thousand students every year. At the University and all over the city we can see the university students dressed in white and black academic attire. Academic traditions and fado occupy an important place in the dynamism and tourism of Coimbra.
The city of Coimbra
The city of Coimbra can be divided into two main areas:
- Cidade Alta: this area offers a unique view of the city and the Mondego River.
On this hill is a unique university set in Portugal that includes: the University of Coimbra, the Joanina Library, the Chapel of São Miguel, the Medieval and Academic Prison, the Sala das Armas, the Sala dos Capelos, the Sala do Exame Privado , the University Tower.
- Baixa da Cidade: Baixa de Coimbra is the excellent shopping area of the city offering a wide variety of establishments to those who visit it, namely: handicraft shops, used bookstores, fado houses, bars, hotels, hostels, museums, republics and art galleries.
Coimbra city center
The city center of Coimbra is composed of Alta da Cidade, Praça do Comércio, Rua Ferreira Borges and Praça 8 de Maio, the places where we find the main shops in the streets of historic buildings. At the top of Alta da Cidade we find the University of Coimbra, in the low zone, opposite the Mondego River we find the main entrance of Rua Ferreira Borges, a pedestrian zone. We enter in front of the Santa Clara Bridge over the Mondego River, through the Largo da Portagem, where we find a garden and the monument in honor of Joaquim António de Aguiar, surrounded by historic buildings in the city of Coimbra, namely the Banco de Portugal building. Rua Ferreira Borges is a pedestrian street with a traditional Portuguese stone pavement, narrowed by the architecture of the old city, with residential buildings, with clothing stores, banks, jewelry, restaurants, cafes with terraces, and pharmacies, services, and the cross road with entry to monumental area of Coimbra, from Porta de Barbacã. At the end of Ferreira Borges we find the Praça 8 de Maio, with the imposing Santa Cruz church, the Coimbra City Hall and the Santa Cruz de Coimbra Monastery. Parallel to Rua Ferreira Borges, we find Praça do Comércio, a large place with restaurants, shops, the Igreja de São Tiago and Igreja de São Bartolomeu. From here we can walk through the narrow streets, appreciate the ancient architecture, and photograph the details until we reach the University at the top of the hill.
Places to visit in Coimbra (top 10)
1. University Coimbra
Coimbra University: the University of Coimbra is the city’s landmark. This university city is located in the upper part of the city. This complex is centered on the Pátio das Escolas, where thousands of young people dressed in academic attire can be seen moving around constantly.
Founded in 1290, the University of Coimbra is part of a vast complex comprising:
- Joanina Library: Library built in 1717, includes a collection of more than 60 thousand volumes
- Capela de São Miguel: this chapel was inaugurated in 1517. Its main highlight is a baroque organ built in 1733.
- Medieval and Academic Prison: it is the only medieval prison that exists in Portugal.
- Sala das Armas: place where some academic ceremonies are held.
- Sala dos Capelos: Sala dos Capelos is the place where the most important ceremonies of the University are held, namely:
- the solemn PhDs,
- the Rector’s Investiture and
- the Solemn Opening of Classes.
- Private Examination Room: it was the place where the private exam was carried out until the 19th century before going on to PhD. In this room are the portraits of the rectors of the University of Coimbra between the 16th and 18th centuries.
- University Tower: this tower was built with the aim of signaling the beginning and end of studies through its bells. It was opened in 1733. The Tower offers a unique view of the entire city.
- Geophysical and Astronomical Observatory: it is an observatory of the University of Coimbra created during the Pombaline Reform of this University. In 1951 it received new installations in Alto de Santa Clara.
This Observatory studies Astronomy and Astrophysics as part of European programs of the European Space Agency. The Observatory includes a museum with a collection of astronomical and terrestrial observation and measurement instruments, a collection of maps and celestial charts from the 17th and 19th centuries.
- Dom Dinís statue: it is the imposing statue located in Dom Dinis square, at the entrance of the University of Coimbra, in honor of King D. Dinis, responsible for the creation of the University of Coimbra on March 1, 1290, when signed “Scientiae thesaurus mirabilis”, the document intermediated and confirmed by the Pope, thus creating the General Study that brought together the faculties in Lisbon, and later transferred to the Royal Palace of Coimbra during the 14th century.
- Porta Férrea: it is an imposing door with representations of the figure of Sapience, Laws and Medicine, theology and canons, the figure of King D. João III and the figure of King D. Dinis, the founder of the University . The Porta Férrea is located at the entrance to the old Paço da Alcáçova, the citadel of Coimbra. Currently, it is the entrance to the Paço das Escolas, where we find the Via Latina, an imposing staircase from the 17th century that aims to facilitate access to the Paço Reitoral, the Sala dos Capelos and the Gerais.
- A Tower of the University of Coimbra: where is the clock that marked the university’s hourly step, and the bell that defined the institution’s operation through the audible signal. The access to the tower is made by a staircase of 180 steps along the 34 meters high of the tower.
- A Biblioteca Joanina, a historic multi-storey library installed in a building of Baroque architecture;
- A Academic Prison, a historic prison where the employees, students or professors of the University of Coimbra could be tried and arrested temporarily, as a disciplinary measure until 1834.
The University of Coimbra provides visitors with three itineraries:
- Sister Lúcia’s Memorial: memorial dedicated to Sister Lúcia, one of the three children who, according to the believers, attended the miracle of Our Lady of Fatima in 1917. The Memorial is located next to the Carmel of Santa Teresa. Recreates Sister Lúcia’s life from the time of the Apparitions of Fatima until her death on February 13, 2005
- Museu da Água: museum located in Parque Dr. Manuel de Braga. It is installed in an old Water Catchment Station that is worth visiting for its old tunnels and the water mother it houses
- Science Museum: the Science Museum of the University of Coimbra aims to disseminate science to all types of visitors. In this Museum it is possible to travel back in time by visiting an 18th century physics laboratory. The Science Museum is part of the Physics, Zoology, Mineralogy and Botanical Museums
2. Portugal dos Pequenitos
Portugal dos Pequenitos: is a theme park where children and adults learn by feeling like giants. Portugal dos Pequenitos was created by Bissaya Barreto in 1940, with a reduced representation of reality, of Portuguese regional houses, of Portugal’s main monuments, representations of cultures and monuments of African Portuguese-speaking countries, of Brazil, of Macau , India and Timor. The Portugal dos Pequenitos theme park includes visits by train and pedal boat in the mini waterfalls. Among the monuments represented in the park, we highlight the Torre de Belém, the Jerónimos Monastery, the University of Coimbra and the traditional houses of each region of portugal.
3. Santa Cruz Monastery – National Pantheon
Igreja de Santa Cruz – National Pantheon: it is a most important church in Coimbra, declared a National Monument, with Romanesque and Manueline style architecture inaugurated in the 12th century. The Church of Santa Cruz has the status of National Pantheon, recognized in 2003. Among the great Portuguese figures buried here include the first two kings of Portugal, D Afonso Henriques and his son D Sancho I .
Jardim da Sereia or Parque de Santa Cruz: it is part of the structure of the Santa Cruz Monastery. This park includes the Terreiro do game of Pela , a waterfall and Fonte da Nogueira with a Triton, mistaken for a mermaid by the population of Coimbra. In Parque de Santa Cruz we find a sports area with Campo de Santa Cruz, for soccer practice and the basket ball field.
4. Old Cathedral of Coimbra
Sé Velha: the Cathedral or “Sé Velha” of Coimbra is a historic building declared a National Monument, with Romanesque, Gothic and Renaissance architecture, opened in 1184. The Sé Velha of Coimbra stands out by the Porta Specious, through the altarpiece of the chancel, the Chapel of the Most Holy Sacrament, which has the particularity that on sunny days it is possible to see the rays of sunlight entering the Cathedral.
5. Conímbriga – ruins and monographic museum
Conímbriga: it is an old town located 17km from the city of Coimbra, which was established from the Copper Age until the 9th century. It is currently the largest Roman city in Portugal, classified as a National Monument. Here we can visit the ruins of the old settlement and the Monographic Museum of Conímbriga, with an exhibition of the artifacts found during the archaeological excavations.
6. Botanical Garden of the University of Coimbra
Botanical Garden of the University of Coimbra: it is a botanical garden with a collection of tropical plants, daffodils, ornithogalum, succulents, conifers, and other species spread over an area of 13.5 hectares. The Botanical Garden of the University of Coimbra was founded in 1772 by order of the Marquis of Pombal as an integral part of the “Museum of Natural History”. The Garden is located near the Department of Life Sciences of the Faculty of Science and Technology of the University of Coimbra. The Garden is part of the Ibero-Macaronesian Association of Botanical Gardens and the BGCI (Botanical Gardens Conservation International). This garden was created by the Reform of the Marquis of Pombal of the University of Coimbra, with the aim of integrating and investigating vegetation from all over the world. The Botanical Garden stands out for its intense and lush nature, for the sources of an unusual architectural beauty, for the existence of a labyrinthine garden, for the greenhouses, and for being a unique place for the practice of outdoor activities. Here at the Botanical Garden we can see an old hydraulic system at work.
7. Mata Nacional do Choupal
Mata Nacional do Choupal: it is an 80 hectare forest area created in the 18th century with trees of the varieties of Poplar, Alder, Freixo, Salgueiros, Ulmeiro and Lonete, with the objective of protecting the coastal zone of Coimbra from floods of the Mondego River. Currently it is one of the preferred spaces for the population of Coimbra as a recreational, leisure and sport area.
8. Convent of São Francisco
São Francisco Convent: it is a 17th century building with Mannerist architecture, originally designed to welcome Franciscan monks. Since 2016 it has been transformed into a place of excellence for congresses, colloquia and corporate events, both national and international, positioned in the business tourism sector (MICE – Meetings, Incentives, Conferences and Exhibitions). The main auditorium of the Convento de são Francisco has a capacity of 1125 seats, with a total capacity of all rooms and auditoriums of approximately 5000 seats. The tourist attractions of the Convento de São Francisco are the church facade, the building details, and the regular cultural events.
9. Manuel Braga City Park
Manuel Braga City Park: it is a park located near the Mondego River. In the park we find the Museu da Água, the old Barcas Serranas used to transport goods between Penacova and Figueira da Foz, a bandstand from 1904, and several sculptures in honor of personalities who lived in Portugal, namely the bust of tribute to the writer Antero de Quental, a monument in honor of the poet Florbela Espanca, the poet and writer António Arnaut, a statue commemorating Manuel Alegre’s 40 years of literary life, and the monument in honor of Dr. Manuel Braga, the great promoter of the green areas of the city of Coimbra.
10. Monastery of Santa Clara-a-Velha
Monastery of Santa Clara-a-Velha: or Monastery of Santa Clara de Coimbra, is a monastery of begging Gothic architecture from the 13th century. The monastery was enlarged by decision of Queen Santa Isabel who ordered the construction of the cloister and the church. The monastery was eventually abandoned due to the constant flooding of the Mondego River. The Monastery of Santa Clara-a-Velha stands out for the magnificence and dimension of the cloister, the garden and the archaeological excavations that are found outside. Here there is an interpretive center where we can get to know the history of the Monastery and see the collection of porcelain and earthenware, Rosaries, rings and many other objects left by the Poor Clares who lived in the cloister. The Interpretative Center of the Monastery of Santa Clara-a-Velha is installed in a space of 1000m2 consisting of the museum of the Monastery of Santa Clara-a-Velha, auditorium, exhibition rooms, a shop and a cafeteria.
Other places to explore in and around Coimbra
- Parque Verde do Mondego: is a park located on the banks of the River Mondego next to the Pedestrian Bridge Pedro and Inês, with connection to Parque Choupalino, located on the west bank of the river where we find the Clube Fluvial de Coimbra, the beach Fluvial do Choupalinho, and companies linked to nautical activities, namely Stand Up Paddle, the Nautical Sports Section of AAC and historical monuments, and major attractions, namely the Monastery of Santa Clara-a-Velha and Portugal dos Pequenitos. This place includes vast green spaces, restaurants, the Jaime Lobo pools, a children’s playground and exhibition centers.
Porta de Barbacã: also known as Porta e Torre de Almedina, it is the main entrance to the Nucleus of the City Wall of the old city of Coimbra, accessed from the Porta da Barbacã, located at Rua Ferreira Borges.
National Museum of Machado de Castro
Machado de Castro National Museum: it is one of the most important museums of Fine Arts in Portugal, installed in the old facilities of the Paço Episcopal de Coimbra and a large new building. The National Museum of Machado de Castro has a collection with more than two thousand years of history composed of several thousand pieces of archeology, sculpture, jewelery, jewelery, painting, drawing, ceramics, textiles, furniture, and 120 pieces belonging to the National Treasury from Portugal.
Exploratory – Centro Ciência Viva de Coimbra
Exploratory – Centro Ciência Viva de Coimbra: it was the first science center to be created in Portugal. Currently, it has the function of promoting scientific culture in the Central Region of Portugal, in association with the University of Coimbra, the Municipality of Coimbra, the Polytechnic Institute of Coimbra and the Bissaya Barreto Foundation. The Exploratory is installed in a building next to the MOndego River, where we can experience the viewing of 360º films in the Hemispherium, a cinema room with a dome-shaped ceiling, visit the exhibition “Em Forma com Ciência” dedicated to themes related to the health, organized into seven themes corresponding to each of the systems of the human body controlled by the brain; and many activities dedicated to children.
PO.RO.S – Museu Portugal Romano in Sicó
PO.RO.S – Portugal Romano Museum in Sicó: it is an innovative interactive museum with technologies that stimulate the senses, representing themes alluding to the presence of the Romans in the Lands of Sicó, in order to disseminate the cultural history of the lands of Sicó, in the empire of Conímbriga. In the museum building there is a cafeteria with products from the region, and a terrace overlooking the Green Park of Ribeira de Bruscos. PO.RO.S – Portugal Romano Museum in Sicó is a museum recommended for adults and children, with an easy and fun way to learn about the civilizations of the Roman empire.
Church of Santo António dos Olivais
Santo António dos Olivais Church: it is a historic church from the 13th century with a portico and an imposing staircase, flanked by six chapels with clay figures representing the life of Christ
Jardim da Manga
Jardim da Manga: also known as the Claustro da Manga, it is a place of Renaissance architecture from the 16th century classified as a National Monument.
New Cathedral of Coimbra
- Sé Nova: is the seat of the Diocese of Coimbra and the Parish of Sé Nova, installed in an architecture building of Mannerist and Baroque styles. The construction of the Sé Nova de Coimbra began in 1598 and ended in the year 1698. The attractions of the Sé Nova de Coimbra are the imposing facade over the Largo Feira dos Estudante, the cloister, and the altar richly decorated in gilded woodcarving.
Mills of Gavinhos
Gavinhos mills: they are the ex-libris of Figueira de Lorvão. They consist of the 14 old windmills used for the milling of cereals, located on top of the village of Gavinhos, with a panoramic view of the Serra do Buçaco and the Serra da Aveleira. It is a place of nature, very popular for hiking, landscape photography, and sunsets. Here there is a children’s playground and a café bar.
Ançã Natural Pool
Ançã Natural Pool: it is a natural pool with a stone bottom, fed by Fonte de Ança, which delivers more than 20000 liters of water per minute. This is the origin of Ança stone, a type of natural stone used historically in monuments such as the Batalha Monastery
Monument to Joaquim António de Aguiar
Monument to Joaquim António de Aguiar: it is the statue in honor of Joaquim António de Aguiar, the Portuguese politician known as “Mata-Frades” responsible for the one of May 30, 1834, who declared all convents, monasteries extinct ” , colleges, hospices, and any other houses of regular religious orders “, their assets being secularized and incorporated into the National Treasury of the Portuguese State. The statue is located in Largo da Portagem, the entrance to the historic area of Coimbra, an important meeting place where the former merchants paid the tax before entering the city. Nowadays it is a pleasant place in front of the Mondego river, with terraces, and an entry point in the pedestrian shopping area of the city of Coimbra.
Chapel of São Miguel
Capela de São Miguel is a chapel of Manueline architecture from the 6th century, located at the University of Coimbra, classified as a National Monument and UNESCO World Heritage. The chapel’s attractions are the Manueline-style portico, the main altarpiece highly decorated with gilded carving, the organ of great stature, and the ceilings painted with colorful engravings and the symbol of the Portuguese crown
Quinta das Lágrimas
Quinta das Lágrimas: it is a place full of history with centuries-old trees, medieval and neo-Gothic ruins, created in the 14th century with the aim of taking water from two springs to the Convent of Santa Clara, at the then Quinta do Pombal. Currently Quinta das Lágrimas consists of an 18 hectare garden around Quinta da Lágrimas, a 19th century palace transformed into a luxury hotel. At Quinta das Lágrimas we find the Fonte do Amor and Fonte das Lágrimas, where the letters written by D. Pedro I to D. Inês de Castro were delivered. This farm owes its name because it was the romance site of the Portuguese king D Pedro and D Inês de Castro, and where D. Inês was murdered.
Miradouro De Penacova: also known as Mirante Emydgio da Silva, it is a viewpoint in front of the old hotel of Penacova, with a dome dating from 1908 from where we have a fantastic panoramic view over the valley of the Mondego de Penacova.
Livraria do Mondego: is a geomonument of natural rock made up of quartzites from the Ordovícico, located on the banks of the Mondego river near Penacova. This geomonument was sculpted over hundreds of millions of years through the erosion of the river, and the pressure of tectonic forces, creating a spectacular shape of vertical carved rock that simulates the shape of books on a shelf, visible from the N2 road. There is a wooden walkway, from where we can see Livraria do Mondego.
São Sebastião Aqueduct
São Sebastião Aqueduct: also known as the Arcos do Jardim, is a Roman stone aqueduct composed of 21 arches, restored in the 16th century, classified as a National Monument, which used to supply the upper part of the city of Coimbra. The aqueduct is located next to the Botanical Garden of the University of Coimbra.
À Capela: it is a fado house in Coimbra installed in the Chapel of Nossa Senhora da Vitória of the 14th century, a historic building classified as Historical Heritage of Municipal Interest. À Capela has daily shows and a meal service.
Church of São Tiago
Igreja de São Tiago: it is one of the great Romanesque monuments of the city of Coimbra, dating from the 12th century, the church of São Tiago is located in Praça do Comércio in the heart of Coimbra’s historic center. The church is one of the starting points for pilgrims on the way to Santiago de Compostela.
Penedo da Saudade viewpoint
Penedo da Saudade viewpoint: it is a place where, according to legend, King D Pedro would mourn the death of D Inês. This boulder includes a garden and busts of figures from Portuguese culture, namely António Nobre and Eça de Queiroz. From the Penedo da Saudade viewpoint, we have a panoramic view over the eastern part of the city to the Mondego river, the Serra do Roxo and the Lousã mountains. Along Penedo da Saudade we find countless love poems and dedications written in stones.
Queen Santa Isabel Bridge
Rainha Santa Isabel Bridge is the bridge opened in 2004 over the Mondego River that allows quicker access to the south of the city of Coimbra.
Lapa dos Esteios
Lapa dos Esteios: also known as Quinta das Canas, is located on the left bank of the Mondego River at the south exit of Coimbra, next to the Rainha Santa Isabel Bridge. Quinta das Canas highlights the viewpoint that offers a panoramic view over Coimbra and the Mondego river, a forest with vegetation originating from all over the world, marble plates set in the rock celebrating the city’s artists, and a fountain surrounded by statues with the particularity of having their backs to the city.
Paul de Arzila Nature Reserve
Paul de Arzila Nature Reserve: it is a natural pine park located outside the city, on the left bank of the Mondego River. This natural park is characterized by having a very varied flora, composed of yellow lily, pine-weed, poplars, willows, eucalyptus and pine trees. This natural park is a privileged area in Coimbra for watching migratory birds that come to nest here.
National Forest of Vale de Canas
Vale de Canas National Forest: opened in the 16th century, it includes a varied fauna and flora. It has the largest eucalyptus in Europe, approximately 75 meters high. Here we can stroll, have picnics, perform outdoor sports activities, namely running and mountain biking.
Shopping centers in Coimbra
Forum Coimbra: it is the largest and most sought after shopping center in Coimbra, comprising three floors, 147 stores, which includes a restaurant area, Continente hypermarket, Fnac store, six cinemas, parking
Alma Shopping: it is a shopping center with 4 floors, 114 stores, Auchan hypermarket, restaurant area, cinema, and other services.
Coimbra Shopping is a shopping mall with 2 floors, approximately 60 stores, Continente hypermarket, restaurant area and other services.
- Vale das Flores Linear Park: it is a park with a pedestrian circuit and a playground in the center of the urban area, opposite the Coimbra Shopping. It is one of the pleasant places to practice sports activities in Coimbra.
Places to visit near Coimbra
Olive Oil Museum
Museu do Azeite: is a museum installed in a building of highly contemporary architecture in the shape of an olive branch, dedicated to the millenary history of olive oil production, located in the ancient Roman city of Bobadela, Oliveira do Hospital, near Serra da Star. The collection of the Museu do Azeite shows the machines and processes created over time by men for the extraction of olive oil, valuing the history and heritage of the region, combined with the contribution of tourism development. At the Olive Oil Museum, there is the “Cantinho da Ciência”, a space with activities available to the youngest, with interactive educational games, where young people play as scientists to discover the process, from the creation of the olive to the production of olive oil.
Lousã: it is a village in the district of Coimbra with around 18 thousand inhabitants. Lousã has been populated since Roman times because its basements are rich in gold. Lousã received a charter in 1513 in the reign of D Manuel I. In the 18th century this town grew due to the paper and spinning industries. Currently Lousã stands out for its craftsmanship, namely basketry, ceramics and embroidery. From the gastronomy of Lousã we highlight the roasted kid, the chanfana, the migas, the tibornada in the mill, the corn bread and the sweet rice. In Lousã, the main attractions are:
- Serra da Lousã, a mountain with an altitude of 1205 meters at the highest point in Trevim, part of the Montejunto-Estrela System. Serra da Lousã is known for the existence of 12 of the 27 Schist Villages in Portugal, namely the villages of Aigra Nova, Aigra Velha, Candal, Casal de São Simão, Casal Novo, Cerdeira, Chiqueiro, Comareira, Ferraria de São João, Gondramaz, Pena, and Talasnal. In addition to the existing schist villages in the Serra da Lousã, here we find
- the Serra da Lousã Biological Park, a park that maintains the largest sample of Portugal’s wild fauna, with the aim of preserving the wild species existing in the territory. Here we can walk and observe eagles, owls, lynx, wolves, foxes, wild boar, fallow deer, deer, roe deer, goats and other wild animals.
- Castelo da Lousã: also known as Castelo de Arouce is a medieval castle from the 11th century, classified as a National Monument, located on the right bank of the Arouce River. The Castle is in good condition. Near the Lousã Castle we can visit the Sanctuary of Nossa Senhora da Piedade, located near the waterfall on a river beach, the Miradouro da Piedade overlooking the Lousã Castle and the Sanctuary Senhora da Piedade
- Baloiço da Lousã: is a swing built in wood, located at 1205 meters, in Alto de Trevim, the highest point of Serra da Lousã. The swing is very popular for photography and for the stunning landscape, commonly known as the most famous swing in Portugal.
Figueira da Foz
Figueira da Foz: it is the most important coastal city in the district of Coimbra, located about 40 kms from the city of Coimbra. It has approximately 59 thousand inhabitants. Figueira da Foz is a bathing attraction that receives a large influx of tourists during the summer due to its extensive beaches, becoming a unique cosmopolitan center in the region. The outstanding heritage in Figueira da Foz includes the Municipal Museum Dr. Santos Rocha, the Igreja de São Julião, the Núcleo Museológico do Mar and the Forte de Santa Catarina . Figueira da Foz gastronomy has a set of specialties, namely Figueira fish soup, Costa da Figueira shrimp, Pitau ray, and Brisas da Figueira sweets.
- Casino Figueira, is the ex-libris of Figueira da Foz, opened at the end of the 19th century. Casino Figueira is a casino with roulette, blackjack and poker game rooms, slot machines, and a theater room where many world-class art and entertainment shows take place.
- Praia de Quiaios: it is the beach of the small village of Murtinheira, a wild beach located north of Figueira da Foz, composed of with an extensive sand, and a landscape composed by Serra da Boa Viagem.
Montemor-o-Velho: is a village located in a strategic area of the district of Coimbra, about 20 km from the city of Figueira da Foz, Montemor-o-Velho has a very rich heritage, fauna and flora, namely, the Montemor-o-Velho Castle, an 11th century castle in good preservation conditions located in a dominant position over the village, on the right bank of the Mondego River. Within the castle walls we find the Church of Santa Maria da Alcáçova, an 11th century church restored over the centuries. In MOntemor-o-Velho we also find the Paúl de Arzila Nature Reserve. In this municipality we can enjoy unique gastronomic specialties, namely lamprey rice, fried shad, Tentúgal pastries or sweet Papos de Anjo.
Góis: is a municipality in the district of Coimbra, located in the east of Coimbra. In Góis we highlight the Igreja Matriz de Góis, the Igreja da Misericórdia, the Ecomuseum de Góis, the Praia Fluvial da Peneda and the Praia Fluvial das Canaveias .
Pampilhosa da Serra
Pampilhosa da Serra: it is a village with fantastic views, the Cascata da Serra da Boa Viagem, a waterfall that unfortunately dries up in the warmer months. The heritage of Pampilhosa da Serra comprises the Igreja Matriz, the Capela da Misericórdia, the Capela de Santo António, the Capela de São Sebastião, the Capela de São Jerónimo, the Municipal Museum and the Viewpoint of Cristo Rei of Pampilhosa da Serra. Here we find the river beach of Dornelas do Zêzere and the river beach of Janeiro de Baixo.
Penacova: it is a village located 22 km from Coimbra on the right bank of the Mondego River, surrounded by the Buçaco and Roxo mountains, providing a lush and unique landscape. In Penacova we highlight the Igreja Matriz, the Chapel of Senhora do Monte Alto, the Chapel of Nossa Senhora da Guia, the Quinta da Ribeira, the Miradouro Raúl Lino, the Monastery of Lorvão, the Barragem da Aguieira, and the Moinhos de Gavinhos.
Mata do Buçaco
Mata do Buçaco: the Mata Nacional do Buçaco, located in Serra do Buçaco in the municipality of Mealhada, was planted by the Religious Order of the Discalced Carmelites in the 17th century, here we find a convent that operated between 1628 and 1834 , the year in which religious orders were extinguished in Portugal. The Royal Palace of Mata Nacional do Buçaco was built in 1888. Mata do Buçaco witnessed one of the most important battles against Napoleon’s troops on September 27, 1827, inflicting a heavy defeat on General Massena. In this place it is worth visiting the convent of Santa Cruz do Buçaco, the Military Museum of Buçaco, and the Palácio do Buçaco
- Palácio do Buçaco: is a hotel housed in a 19th century Manueline style palace, classified as a national monument, a Property of Public Interest, considered the last legacy of the kings of Portugal. The building is decorated with tile panels, frescoes and paintings depicting the Epic of Portuguese Discoveries evoking Os Lusíadas, the Autos of Gil Vicente and the Peninsular War, graceful sculptures by António Gonçalves and Costa Mota, paintings by João Vaz illustrating verses from the epic by Luís Vaz de Camões, frescoes by António Ramalho and paintings by Carlos Reis
Cantanhede: is a capital city of the municipality divided into the 14 parishes of Ançã, Cadima, Cantanhede and Pocariça, Cordinhã, Covões and Camarneira, Febres, Murtede, Ourentã, Portunhos and Outil, Sanguinheira, São Caetano, Sepins and Bolho, Torch, and Vilamar and Corticeiro de Cima. In Cantanhede we can visit:
- the Museu da Pedra, with an excellent exhibition on archaeological pieces dating from the Paleolithic period, fossils over 65 million years old, a curious exhibition of zx spectrums and Sinclair computers. Cantanhede is located 34 minutes from Figueira da Foz.
Serra do Açor
Serra do Açor: it is a mountain in the center of Portugal, next to the Serra da Estrela, which covers Arganil, Pampilhosa da Serra, Covilhã, Seia, Oliveira do Hospital and Góis. The highest point of the Serra do Açor is the Pico de Cebola, at 1418 meters of altitude. In the Serra do Açor we find:
- Fraga da Pena Waterfall: it is a 20 meter waterfall between shale rock and native vegetation. The Fraga da Pena waterfall is one of the great attractions of the Serra do Açor.
Piódão: it is a village classified as a Property of Public Interest, a typical village in Portugal. In Piodão we can visit the chapel of São Pedro, chapel of São João, chapel of Santa Bárbara, chapel of Senhora da Saúde and chapel of Senhora do Bom Parto. Here we find the Piódão River Beach, located on the Piodão River,
Arganil: it is a town, the seat of the municipality with the 14 parishes of Arganil, Benfeita, Celavisa, Cepos and Teixeira, Cerdeira and Moura da Serra, Côja and Barril de Alva, Folques, Piódão, Pomares, Pombeiro da Beira, São Martinho da Cortiça, Sarzedo, Secarias, and Vila Cova de Alva e Anseriz.
Castle of Penela
Castelo de Penela: is a medieval castle from the 12th century in Gothic style, built on a hillside over the village of Penela. Inside the casatelo we can visit the Igreja Matriz de São Miguel de Penela.
Cascata da Pedra da Ferida
Pedra da Ferida Waterfall: it is a waterfall located in Serra do Espinhal, with a waterfall of 25 meters between rock and vegetation
Coimbra Festivals and Pilgrimages
- Festivities of the City of Coimbra and Rainha Santa Isabel: held annually in July to honor the patron saint Santa Isabel. This party takes place with the night procession and the daytime procession.
- Medieval Fair of Coimbra: held annually in July at Largo da Sé Velha.
- Feira dos Lázaros: takes place on Sunday in São Lázaro with the aim of recreating an old Coimbra tradition, with the play of the arrufadas and the sale of sweets by the children.
- Gastronomy and Craft Fair: held annually in July.
- University of Coimbra Student Cans Party: held annually in October. It is the reception party for new students at the University. For a week concerts, cultural and sports activities take place, and it ends with an academic procession through the city streets.
- Burning of the Ribbons of the Students of the University of Coimbra: held annually in May, it is the largest student party in the whole of Europe. This party takes place for eight days, equal to the number of colleges that make up the University of Coimbra. The Queima das Fitas week begins with the Monumental Serenade on the stairs of the Old Cathedral, the Faculties Gala, the Garraiada, the Pasta Sale, the Queima do Grelo and the Quartanistas’ Parade.
The gastronomy of Coimbra
Coimbra’s gastronomy is rich and varied. The typical dishes of this region include specialties unique in the world:
- Lamprey Rice (Arroz de Lampreia);
- Coimbra rice pudding (Arroz doce à moda de Coimbra);
- Chanfana (Chanfana);
- Roasted Piglet from Bairrada (Leitão Assado da Bairrada);
- Wedding Soup (Sopa de Casamento).
The handicrafts of the Coimbra region include traditions such as rags, embroidery, tinwork, black clay, ceramic pieces, wicker basketry, canastraria, mats and mats.
The economy of Coimbra
The economy of the district of Coimbra is a very dynamic and innovative economy in Portugal. It is in Coimbra that we find the Instituto Pedro Nunes, considered the best technological incubator in the world, a distinction received by the Best Science Incubator award. The vast majority of companies focus on services, commerce and the real estate sector. In the manufacturing industries, we highlight the bakery industry, the wood industry, the cork industry, the non-metallic minerals industry and the metallurgical products industry.
Most of these industries are located in the two industrial parks that exist in this city, the Parque Industrial de Eiras and the Parque Industrial de Taveiro.
Coimbra is an important tourist attraction center, with 3.3% of hotel establishments and 2.1% of beds available in the country.
In Coimbra, agriculture continues to play an important role in the economy. Among agricultural products we highlight rice, corn, vegetables, fruit and wine.
Geographic location and climate
Coimbra is a city located in central Portugal. Coimbra is located approximately 122 km from the city of Porto and approximately 207 km from Lisbon. The native of Coimbra is called coimbrão, conimbricense or conimbrigense. The district of Coimbra has a mild climate with temperatures ranging from 30ºC in summer to 5ºC and 14ºC in winter. The district of Coimbra borders the districts of Aveiro and Viseu to the north, the district of Guarda to the northeast, the district of Castelo Branco to the east, the district of Leiria to the south and the Atlantic Ocean to the west. The district of Coimbra is divided into 17 counties, namely:
- Figueira da Foz
- Miranda do Corvo
- Oliveira do Hospital
- Pampilhosa da Serra
- Vila Nova de Poiares
The most important mountains in the district of Coimbra are Açor, Lousã, Cabeço do Souto, Vieiro and Urra. The most important rivers in the district of Coimbra are: Alva, Arunca, Corvo, Mondego and Seia. The Mondego River is the largest Portuguese river with an extension of 234 km. This river rises in the Serra da Estrela at an altitude of 1425 meters, in the town of Mondeguinho in the municipality of Guarda, and flows into Figueira da Foz. The hydrographic basin of the River Mondego has an area of 6644 km2 and includes places that provide unique landscapes, namely the Aguieira and Raiva dams and the Livraria do Mondego, in Penacova.
Quick facts from Coimbra
- Population of the Coimbra region: approximately 433 thousand inhabitants
- Population of the city of Coimbra: approximately 134 thousand inhabitants
- Area: 319.4 kms2
- Year of foundation of the municipality: 1111
- District: Coimbra
- Former Province: Beira Litoral
- Santa Patron: Santa Isabel de Portugal
- Municipal holiday: 4th of July